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Month: July 2005

Lost in translation…

Lost in Translation

What happens when an English phrase is translated (by computer) back and forth between 5 different languages? The authors of the Systran translation software probably never intended this application of their program. As of September 2003, translation software is almost good enough to turn grammatically correct, slang-free text from one language into grammatically incorrect, barely readable approximations in another. But the software is not equipped for 10 consecutive translations of the same piece of text. The resulting half-English, half-foreign, and totally non sequitur response bears almost no resemblance to the original. Remember the old game of “Telephone”? Something is lost, and sometimes something is gained. Try it for yourself!

The results can be a bit hit and miss, but there are some real gems.

“up and away in my beautiful balloon” becomes “for the distant and moved ascent far in pretty aerostat of the mine”. Er, exactly 🙂

TheFridayProject: web to print

The Friday Project :: Launch Announcement

The people behind The Friday Thing and ‘London by London’ (editorially-managed email newsletters) have racked up the PR by turning themselves into ‘a publishing company’.

The founders of the company are fortunate to have a) two titles which are book-ready; b) topics which lend themselves to the coffee-table/whimsy market and c) journalistic and commissioning experience – ie turning ideas into commissioning briefs for publications and/or pitching column concepts to editors.

Whether there’s a massive movement to create books from web concepts remains to be seen. There’ll certainly be enough to keep a publishing company busy for as long as it maintains a sense of whimsy and fun. From a web perspective, the myriad whimsical sites, personalities and one-line-jokes represent a real mother-lode for the A&R people in publishing… Maybe people should look carefully at their copyright statements on their blogs and mailing lists 😉

Google the moon ;)

Google Moon – Lunar Landing Sites

How much fun is this? In honour of the manned moon landings of 1969 (er – why honour them now?) Google has ‘adapted’ its mapping software to map the landing areas.

Fun to see the surface of the moon and zoom ever closer… Just select the maximum zoom for the fun revelation 🙂

Great. The FAQs are funny too. What a fun place to work 🙂

“Taking the ‘M’ out of the SME” – ICAEW report

Taking the M out of SME

In the UK it’s an established nostrum that the Government should focus upon the “SME” (Small and Medium-sizes Enterprises) as the engine-room of the economy. While definitions vary, there’s broad acceptance that the definition covers companies from 5 people through to c£250million turnover. Quite a large slice!

Those of us who’ve worked in the SME sector (or who are involved in supporting growth in this area –
) know that the needs and capabilities of businesses under this definition are by no means uniform nor similar.

This report sets out the 7 characteristics of “M” companies…

Paul Druckman, President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants has undertaken a useful, overdue and insightful investigation into the specific characteristics of the “Medium” companies. This clearly articulates their increased sophistication, professionalism and approach as well as the specific support and development requirements. This isn’t to disparage the “S” companies, of course, but rather a belated acknowledgements that increased scale, skills and different behaviours should be addressed specifically, rather than a sort of “non-FTSE-500 catch-all”.

Paul’s 7 characteristics are:

Professional management teams

Enabling cultures

Effective systems

Longer time horizons

Value outside advice

Distribute equity

Diversify customer base

These criteria certainly ‘chime’ as being both sensible and a welcome change from the turnover/size metrics of the past. That they are also behavioural is welcome: it provides a growth path for the “S” companies – they can start ‘behaving’ as “M” companies immediately. Professionalising management, seeking and using external advice, considering longer planning horizons… all of these approaches are valid at £1m turnover as at £100m.

I’d be interested now to see some follow-up research as on whether there’s a correlation between these characteristics and growth…

“EU Parliament Rejects Patent Law Backed by Technology Companies”: Bloomberg

Per and

The BBC’s take gives a balanced view with some useful background.

It’s a relief that sofware and business ‘methodology’ patents are off the agenda, the price paid is the retention of national patent offices. The confusion and administrative burden placed upon companies to manage their EU-wide intellectual property must surely be frustrating and racks up the overall temperature in the protect-and-defend mentality in many large company’s legal offices.

Pity that there can’t be people who focus upon harmonisation and reducing red tape, and a separate lot who look to new laws… It seems that combining these approaches simply supports the ‘no change because we can’t agree’ result.

London 2012

London 2012 Homepage

So then, IOC, London wins the games. A tense knockout round that could teach RealityTV a lesson or two and then victory by 4 votes.

There’s a certain amusement in the French:British standoff following a week of Chirac’s graceless jibes and muted jingoism celebrating Trafalgar. While too in the Olympics themselves there’s a Silver and Bronze medal for consolation and recognition, the second place is brutally cruel.

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After much RTFM, selecting the easiest options and a large whisky or three, herewith one standard install of movabletype, and a new weblog – in no particular order.

My areas of interest, business, amusement, etc cover publishing, eCommerce, technology… All in no particular order.

Now all that remains is to email my mum and random others so that they read this post and can comment on the lack of design, colours, dislike of the categories… 🙂